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Signature’s FIRES IN THE MIRROR Announces Casting & Tickets Now on Sale
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 05:55 pm EDT 08/22/19

Tickets Now on Sale & Casting Announced
For Signature Theatre’s Production of

Fires in the Mirror

Conceived, Written,
and Originally Performed
By Anna Deavere Smith

Directed by Saheem Ali

Performed in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
At The Pershing Square Signature Center

Running October 22 to November 24, 2019, Opening on November 11, 2019

Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Executive Director) has announced casting and the creative team for Fires in the Mirror, by Obie, Drama Desk and Arthur Award winner Anna Deavere Smith, featuring Michael Benjamin Washington (The Boys in the Band) and and directed by Saheem Ali. Tickets, priced at $35 thanks to the Signature Ticket Initiative, are on sale now for the production, which runs October 22 to November 24, 2019 with a Monday, November 11th opening night in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

“Anna Deavere Smith is a groundbreaking documentary theatre-maker. We’re thrilled to be celebrating her extraordinary vision and sharing her singular body of work with our audiences. We’ll start Anna’s Residency 1 with Fires in the Mirror, in its first major production since it premiered in New York more than 25 years ago. The play’s themes and insights remain unsettlingly resonant today, and we’re excited to welcome director Saheem Ali and actor Michael Benjamin Washington as they re-examine Anna’s seminal text.” – Artistic Director, Paige Evans

The creative team for Fires in the Mirror includes Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic Design), Dede M. Ayite (Costume Design), Alan C. Edwards (Lighting Design), Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design) and Hannah Wasileski (Projection Design), and Dawn-Elin Fraser (Dialect Coach). The Production Stage Manager is Alfredo Macias and Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth. Following the deaths of a Black American boy and a young Orthodox Jewish scholar in the summer of 1991, underlying racial tensions in the nestled community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn erupted into civil outbreak. Fires in the Mirror was Anna Deavere Smith’s groundbreaking response. Birthed from a series of interviews with over fifty members of the Jewish and Black communities, the Drama Desk award-winning work translated their voices verbatim, and in the process revolutionized the genre of documentary theatre. As much provocation as it is exploration, this landmark play launches Anna Deavere Smith’s Residency 1 at Signature.

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, which recently celebrated its one-millionth ticket sold, is a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

To purchase tickets for all Signature productions call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

2019-2020 SEASON OVERVIEW

RESIDENCY 1: ANNA DEAVERE SMITH

Fires in the Mirror

Conceived, Written, and Originally Performed by Anna Deavere Smith

Directed by Saheem Ali

October 22 – November 24, 2019

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre



There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth. Following the deaths of a Black American boy and a young Orthodox Jewish scholar in the summer of 1991, underlying racial tensions in the nestled community of Crown Heights, Brooklyn erupted into civil outbreak. Fires in the Mirror was Anna Deavere Smith’s groundbreaking response. Birthed from a series of interviews with over fifty members of the Jewish and Black communities, the Drama Desk award-winning work translated their voices verbatim, and in the process revolutionized the genre of documentary theatre. As much provocation as it is exploration, this landmark play launches Anna Deavere Smith’s Residency 1 at Signature.



Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Conceived, Written, and Originally Performed by Anna Deavere Smith

Directed by Taibi Magar

April 28 – May 31, 2020

The Irene Diamond Stage



One verdict can change the course of history. The news of the police officers’ acquittal in Rodney King’s police brutality case reverberated throughout the streets of Los Angeles. Variously called a “riot, a revolution, or a social explosion,” the events that followed the verdict drew worldwide attention. Playwright, actor and scholar Anna Deavere Smith responded artistically by dissecting the anatomy of the unrest. She interviewed over 350 Los Angelinos in preparation for the performance. Declared a “rich, panoramic canvas of a national trauma” by The New York Times, Smith’s transformative study of the 1992 L.A. riots reveals the fault lines that set the city ablaze. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is equal parts meticulously researched reportage and stirring cry for reform.



RESIDENCY 5: KATORI HALL

The Hot Wing King **A World Premiere**

By Katori Hall

Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III

February 11 – March 15, 2020

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre



Ready, set, fry! It’s time for the annual "Hot Wang Festival" in Memphis, Tennessee, and Cordell Crutchfield knows he has the wings that’ll make him king. Supported by his beau Dwayne and their culinary clique, The New Wing Order, Cordell is marinating and firing up his frying pan in a bid to reclaim the crispy crown. When Dwayne takes in his troubled nephew however, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Suddenly, a first place trophy isn’t the only thing Cordell risks losing. Steve H. Broadnax III will direct this sizzling world premiere comedy from Residency 5 playwright Katori Hall (Hurt Village, Our Lady of Kibeho).



RESIDENCY 5: DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU

Confederates **A New York Premiere**

By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Kamilah Forbes

May 12 – June 14, 2020

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre



Sara, a savvy slave turned Union spy, and Sandra, a brilliant professor in a modern-day private university, are facing similar struggles, though they live over a century apart. This New York premiere by MacArthur Genius Fellow Dominique Morisseau, directed by Kamilah Forbes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark), leaps through time in order to trace the identities of these two black American women and explore the reins that racial and gender bias still hold on American educational systems today.



RESIDENCY 5: LAUREN YEE

Cambodian Rock Band **A New York Premiere**

By Lauren Yee

Directed by Chay Yew

February 4 – March 8, 2020

The Irene Diamond Stage



Guitars tuned. Mic checked. Get ready to rock. This electric new play with music tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in thirty years, as his daughter prepares to prosecute one of Cambodia's most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, this thrilling story toggles back and forth in time as father and daughter face the music of the past. Directed by Chay Yew, the New York premiere of this intimate rock epic about family secrets is set against a dark chapter of Cambodian history. It launches Steinberg Award-winning playwright Lauren Yee’s Residency 5.



LEGACY PROGRAM: HORTON FOOTE

The Young Man from Atlanta

By Horton Foote

Directed by Michael Wilson

November 5 – December 8, 2019

The Irene Diamond Stage



Danger waits just underneath the surface in Horton Foote’s powerful, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of an aging couple still reeling from the death of their only child. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly modernizing 1950s Houston, the Kidders' lives are turned upside down once again when a figure from their son’s past shows up in town. They deny, deflect and deceive in an effort to avoid the danger but can’t dodge the inevitable reckoning. How far will these grieving parents go to avoid the truths this young man from Atlanta might reveal? Director Michael Wilson (The Orphans’ Home Cycle, The Old Friends), the premier interpreter of Foote’s work, returns to Signature to spearhead this beautiful, heartbreaking play that explores and dissects the American dream while revealing the depths we go to in order to keep ourselves safe.



About SIGNATURE THEATRE



Signature Theatre celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, producing several plays by each resident writer and delivering an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision. In 2014, Signature became the first New York City company to receive the Regional Theater Tony Award.



Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects to host Signature’s three distinct playwrights’ residencies and foster a cultural community. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its original Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency 1, a year-long intensive exploration of a single writer’s body of work. Residency 5, the only program of its kind, was launched at the Center to support multiple playwrights as they build bodies of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature’s 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies back for productions of premiere or earlier plays.



The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City’s cultural landscape and provides a venue for cultural organizations that supports and encourages collaboration among artists throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, a rehearsal studio and a public café, bar and bookstore.



Through the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, Signature has also made an unprecedented commitment to making its productions accessible by underwriting the cost of the initial run tickets through 2031.



Founded in 1991 by James Houghton and now led by Artistic Director Paige Evans, Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, Stephen Adly Guirgis, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. Lynn Nottage is the current Residency 1 playwright. Signature’s Residency 5 playwrights are Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Dave Malloy and Dominique Morisseau; Will Eno completed his Residency 5 in 2016. Signature’s productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk and AUDELCO awards, among many other distinctions. For more information, please visit signaturetheatre.org.



Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Signature Theatre.
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